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The big brands are calling for a global pact to reduce plastic production




Overview of plastic waste dumped in polluted Lake Potpecko near a dam hydropower plant near the town of Priboj, Serbia, January 29, 2021. REUTERS / Marko Djurica / File Photo

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January 17 (Reuters) – International brands including Coca Cola and PepsiCo on Monday called for a global pact to combat plastic pollution that includes cuts in plastics production, a key growth area for the oil industry.

World officials will meet at a conference of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) later this year to begin negotiations on a treaty to address a plastic waste crisis that is drowning landfills, destroying oceans and killing wildlife.

It remains unclear whether any agreement will focus on waste management and recycling or take tougher steps such as curbing new plastic production, an action that is likely to face resistance from major oil and chemical firms. and major plastic manufacturing countries such as the United States.

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More than 70 signatories Monday joint statement include consumer goods companies such as Unilever and Nestle, which sell a range of disposable plastic products, from shampoo to chocolate, as well as retailer Walmart and French bank BNP Paribas.

“We are at a critical juncture in time to establish an ambitious UN treaty,” the statement said, noting that any agreement should “reduce the production and use of virgin plastic.”

“UNEA 5.2 is the crucial moment, the most favorable moment to turn the tide in the global plastic pollution crisis. We can not allow ourselves to lose it,” the statement said.

Less than 10% of all plastics ever made is recycled and a Reuters investigation last year found that new recycling technologies protected by the plastics industry have struggled to combat the problem.

Meanwhile, plastic production, derived from oil and gas, is projected to double within 20 years. This is a key source of future revenue for major energy companies, as demand for fossil fuels decreases with the growth of renewable energy and electric vehicles.

While increasing global recycling is critical to the treatment of plastic waste, these efforts will not prevent plastic pollution from continuing to grow indefinitely in production, revealed a landmark 2020 study by Pew Charitable Trusts.

As pressure mounts on firms selling products in hard-to-recycle plastics to treat the resulting waste, some have teamed up with cement producers to burn plastic waste as the cheapest fuel in the developing world, an investigation has found. Reuters last year.

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Reporting by John Geddie and Joe Brock Editing by Mark Potter

Our standards: Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.




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